charge nurse after less than a year of experience??!


So recently a friend of mine told me she's got an interview as a charge nurse position, only after less than a year of new grad experience in acute setting! I was completely baffled when she told me, not sure what advice to give her.

She told me that this is a 23 bed telemetry unit in a small community hospital with LVNS, RNs, CNAs.. monitor techs. She had some charge experience in a nursing home, and a little bit on a busy tele unit, but being a charge nurse on a telemetry unit!?! management said definitely no one internal would get the position, so for sure its an outside canidate. They said they would let her work as a regular staff on the unit for 6 months,.. and take on the charge role after. !?!??!! My friend has been looking for a job for awhile now, given this bad economy, but is this worth it????

why are facilities doing this? would you personally take it if you're jobless, in a terrible economy impacted state, and you can get a six months chance to be a regular RN??

Edited by nurse441


Vanillanut, DNP, RN, APRN

Specializes in Emergency, Internal Medicine, Sports Med. Has 6 years experience. 136 Posts

I have graduated with people (BSN) and ONE WEEK into their jobs they were put in charge. Yup. I actually know of at least 3 that did this.

Personally I would not touch charge with a 10 foot invisible pole for fear of losing my license, if not my mind, without at least a couple years under my belt. ESPECIALLY on a new unit. Half of the battle is learning how the unit "flows". That comes with time and experience.

If they want to take it, I am happy that they are advancing their career and wish them all the best- they're going to need it (I don't think they realize what they might be getting into, and it's not worth it for the difference in pay).



251 Posts

LOL Charge Nurse... Try I just grad as a LPN and the LTC i worked at as a CNA and Med Tech didn't have a position for me as a LPN so they gave me the ADON job that no one wanted. Yes you guessed it 2 weeks out of school and i was Asst Director Of Nurses. That lasted almost 8 months before they decided it's best to have a RN in my position. It happens so be ready for anything in your nursing career..

psu_213, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant. Has 13 years experience. 3,878 Posts

When I was graduating from ADN school, I knew of 2 nurses who were both going to a small community hospital. They wer told they would be trained for charge basically right away.

So to answer the OP's, I don't think it is wise to put someone with little/no experience in charge, but I have heard of it happening.

LoveMyBugs, BSN, CNA, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics. 1,316 Posts

I have only been at my job for 4 months and they have me precepting students:eek: ummm okay, I am still asking a lot of questions myself, but I am at a LTAC

I have a class mate who recently made the jump from LTC to a rehab unit in a hospital and she is now being trained to work relief charge, graduated less than a year ago



264 Posts

I generally agree that RNs with not a lot of experience shouldn't charge, but there is a Charge on my unit with about 2 years of experience now. She's been charging since last year and she's a GREAT Charge Nurse.

tokmom, BSN, RN

Specializes in Certified Med/Surg tele, and other stuff. Has 30 years experience. 4,568 Posts

We are taking on a 1 yr nurse who will be charge one day a week. We, the other charge nurses, chose her because she is smart, learns quickly and wants to learn the job. She will do one day a week and work on the floor the other 2. This way she will retain and learn more skills and learn charge under the wing of the manager. For her it's a win-win situation.


linearthinker, DNP, RN

Specializes in FNP. Has 25 years experience. 1,688 Posts

I hate to tell you this, but it doesn't take any great shakes to be a charge nurse, lol. Hopefully the individual has some leadership skills, but those can be developed independently of nursing school/experience.



Specializes in CMSRN. Has 9 years experience. 658 Posts

I tend to agree that charge should be filled by someone with experience. Some nurses need just a short time to get the charge nurse thing underway. Even some minimal time. Especially new grads that are second career and had some management experience.

I have met some strong new grads that "got it". It depends on the person.

Five&Two Will Do

Five&Two Will Do

Specializes in cardiology/oncology/MICU. Has 3 years experience. 299 Posts

I tend to agree that charge should be filled by someone with experience. Some nurses need just a short time to get the charge nurse thing underway. Even some minimal time. Especially new grads that are second career and had some management experience.

I have met some strong new grads that "got it". It depends on the person.

I agree with you. Some people are able to handle the large amount of multitask multi directional work that is required for charge. I was charge nurse after about 3 months many shifts on a 24 bed telemetry unit, but I did have restaurant management experience and the ability to do 20 things at once plus I make lists for everything so that I do not forget something important.



Specializes in Critical Care (ICU and ER). 33 Posts

imo the nurse's mindset, knowledge, skills, and ability determine whether they are cn material. i know efficient and effective leaders with a year's worth of experience and then i know nurses with 20yrs+ experience that couldn't lead the group to save their own life.

i was an rn with 14 mos experience post-gn and was given a charge position after bidding it against 3 other nurses who have all had more experience and more time with the organization (non-union facility). i feel as if i'm a good leader and teacher. i've taken responsibility for some committees and done in-services on several new products. for me at least, time-in-grade has little to do with preparedness or responsibility... only your personality and skills prove your worth. same thing goes for the argument that all gns need to start on med-surg, that’s some backwards, close-minded and generally outdated thinking.



1,459 Posts

What does YOUR friend have to say about this?

You talk as though you don't think she can meet up to it, never underestimate, people can rise up to the occasion when neccessary. It's not like she's straight out of school either. She has some experience.

There WILL be resources for her to call upon- she will not e alone. It's a hospital with emergency resources right there.

Neve underestimate anyone. Again, this is YOUR opinion, what is HER opinion?